Initial thoughts and Questions about the Quest... [Merged]

Discussion about Wilbur Smith's Egyptian series.

Postby Bee » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:27 pm

Also... just from my Ancient Egypt courses I took. Magical and mythical things were very dominant during those times. It formed a huge part of their religion and to me Taita came across as more than a servant with some priest aspects and therefore him working the Mazes seemed to fit in very well. Just a hardcore belief in their religion...
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Postby Matbow » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:25 am

I agree that the mystical side of things should play a big part in Egyptian novels, as like you say Bee, it was a big part of their lives.

What I'm getting at it is that WS writes about the supernatural and Taita's magical gift as if it actually does happen - not that the characters believe it is happening. I'm sure most educated people don't believe in "Magic" and therefore writing about it in this way makes the novel become Fantasy.
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Postby Nefer » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:00 am

Remember, WS ahs stated that he writes exactly what people believed happened - not what we, as educated people, believe. If he did that, there would be no racism in his books, or any of the other situations which make us believe in his books.
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Postby Matbow » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:36 pm

Nefer wrote:Remember, WS has stated that he writes exactly what people believed happened.

Can you point me in the direction of that interview/article if you've got it to hand? (I do believe you- I just don't remember reading that!)

Nefer wrote:If he did that, there would be no racism in his books, or any of the other situations which make us believe in his books.

I don't agree :mrgreen: Racism is a fact - not writing about racism [in a novel about SA history] would make it as much a fantasy novel as Warlock! Also, it's not easy to compare Mysticism with Racism in this way, but it depends on the context of the idea;

In Warlock Taita's powers are described in the narrative, thereby giving the impression that (as far as the novel is concerned) these mystical events actually did happen. Conversely, in "Rage" WS was very careful to confine controversial attitudes (racism, sexism, homophobia etc...) to the thoughts and opinions of characters. This conveyed these "ideas" as beliefs of the characters and as part of the culture of society *not* that they were his opinions (and therefore "fact"; applying similar logic to how I explained mysticism in Warlock).

Essentially I'm saying:

Narrative = fact, it actually did happen in the novel.
Characters opinion = belief, therefore open to interpretation and acceptance/rejection by the reader.

Of course, if someone can prove to me that "the supernatural" exists then I'll happily concede Warlock isn't fantasy!
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Initial thoughts and Questions about the Quest...

Postby i_heart_nefie » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:25 pm

I nowhere near finishing but I am a little upset so far. I am 200 pages in and yeah...only a little disappointed

[spoiler]Kate and I were so confused about Fenn and such. She is so different to actual Lostris...I hope it gets better!!!!!!![/spoiler]
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Postby Ada » Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:28 am

I'm now at page 224 and still enjoying it.

Spoiler:
I know what you mean about Fenn. I was confused at first too. I found the best way is to forget she is Lostris reincarnated & just accept her as Taita's apprentice who will possibly become more powerful than him as she appears to have been born with powers whereas Taita has learned his.
The only thing I'm disappointed about at this stage is the map. I love books with maps. The Red Stones aren't shown properly - i.e. blocking the Nile. That has possibly been done on purpose so you don't know why the flow has stopped until you get to that part in the book.

What about the part where Taita attains the Inner Eye ability? I've read all WS's books so am familiar with his blood & guts descriptions for injuries etc. - but when Taita has his eyeball scooped out & then his brain pierced by needles, OMG it really freaked me out & I felt my stomach churning! Thank goodness I wasn't eating my lunch at the time.
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Postby Allira » Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:31 am

Ok you guys really need to teach me how to do this spoiler thing, so I can add some comments!!!
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Postby Ada » Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:48 am

Allira, to make your post a spoiler, highlight the comments that need to be "blacked" and click the 'spoiler' box on the far right. I always preview to make sure I've got it all and just as well because I missed a paragraph earlier but fixed it by backspacing out the instructions, rehighlighting the lot & clicking 'spoiler' again.

There's things on here I can't do yet either - i.e. making a word become a connection to another post here on the Forum or an outside web address :?

I hope the above makes sense & helps - good luck. :)
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Postby Matbow » Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:08 am

I'm about half way through now, I'll write a proper review when I'm finished but I have two questions:

[spoiler]1) It's stated that back in the days of the exodus up the Nile, all but one of Lord Aquers (or something like that) expedition party returned - I was sure that they all (or at least most) returned?[/spoiler]

[spoiler]2) Taita's a virgin? Ummm, no he wasn't! I'm sure I remember that it was mentioned that he wasn't like most eunuchs as he'd known a womans warmth (or something like that).
[/spoiler]

Hmmm...
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Postby Ada » Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:39 am

I took the risk of peeking at your spoilers as I'm at the half way mark too now. When did you get it? If it was today, you are an extremely fast reader. I'm coming to the conclusion I'm a slow reader - either that I'm easily distracted. :roll:

[spoiler]1) I haven't found it (i.e. page no.) but I thought it was the other way around. That is, only one person came back & no one believed the things he said as they thought he was insane. Taita talked to his grandson I think.

2) I agree Taita wasn't a virgin and WS mentions that fact more than once in words similar to "new the love of a woman" and because of that his castration is all the more cruel/he knows what he's missing! I found the page no.s - they're 197 & 198. I also thought it strange he mentioned so much from River God. He's almost created a spoiler for one of his own books![/spoiler]
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Postby Ada » Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:18 pm

Up to Page 324 now.


[spoiler]Page 266 confirms what I posted above re Lord Aquer's group.
WS has confused us again. On page 286 he acknowledges Taita is not a virgin: "Had you forgotten? Had you suppressed the memory of the ultimate pinnacle of physical delight?"
I haven't googled "toads" yet but has anyone heard of the 'gigantic carrion-eating toads'? Frogs with teeth? Kermit will be horrified! No, I'm serious - have there been excavations in Egypt of bones from giant toads or are these a figment of WS's fabulous imagination?[/spoiler]
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Postby delby » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:14 am

I havent got the Quest yet but ive read all your spoilers coz they wont actually spoil it for me but something bowby said stuck in my mind



[spoiler]Taita is definitely not a virgin Im sure in river god he got his tackle chopped off by lostris father because of a liaison with another slave and the old dude had a fancy for Tata himself.[/spoiler]
WILLIE SMITH IS KING
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Postby Egyptian Eyes » Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:57 am

Yes indeed. I also studied Egyptian religion at university, and magic was very much incorporated in the religious system, especially in initiating the rituals for the gods.
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Postby Egyptian Eyes » Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:59 am

This is quite off-topic, and I certainly have avoided reading the spoilers. But i_heart_nefie, I have to say i love your alias. I like nefer too, and also Memnon/tamose. Major ancient hotties, they were.
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Postby Ada » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:58 am

Now up to page 364

[spoiler]I don't believe it but WS has made what appears to be a 'Dr. Evil' reference (Austin Powers movies): Page 349 "She extended the little finger of her right hand, then touched her lower lip with it." Does anyone know if Mike Myers is paying homage to some one else when he does this? Surely WS knows about it or his editor would have noticed/recognised it. Or is it some bizarre coincidence? :?

WS is determined that Taita is a virgin in this book - another ref. on Page 356: "He was matching himself against one of the most voracious predators of the ages, yet he was a virgin."[/spoiler]
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Postby John R » Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:57 am

sounds like Wilbur is losing the plot!
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Postby Ada » Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:41 am

Entering the home stretch now - up to page 422 and I've got to say:

Hallelujah, and THANK YOU MR. SMITH. I now know how old Taita is \:D/ :D :shock: :lol: but so I don't spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, I'm :-# :lol: .

And for those who didn't know - yes it has been bugging me.
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Postby Egyptian Eyes » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:38 am

Hmm. this is pretty irrelevant (again) but I noticed that many of the Australians here have gotten their copies of the quest at angus and robertson. that was where i got my copy too. i wonder if its exclusive to that bookstore - at least for now?

Just an idiosyncratic observation.
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Postby Lotus » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:46 am

The Quest is available at most stores now, including Kmart who have the paperback.

The hardcover was only $29.95 at A&R, which was the reason I bought it there. Dymocks have it for $49.95.
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Postby Egyptian Eyes » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:52 am

Oh my! what an outraegous difference! I sure am glad i got it at a&r.

Just curious - how much was the paperback? i certainly won't get it now that i have a copy, but just curious.
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